so, watched the NH debates last night, natch. (OT: “1 Night 2 Parties” thing, too close to “2 Girls 1 Cup.” more internet-savvy proofreaders for you guys, ABC!)

tuned in a bit late to watch all of the republican debate, but got in most of it. damn, everybody is on the “smack down romney” train now, aren’t they? i think they were all just waiting for the moderators to turn their backs so they could leap over their desks and eat him. (well, except fred thompson, who appeared to be stoned and/or asleep at at least a couple of junctures. i keep reading comments in which people say “wow, he did well last night!” and i have to wonder if that was in the first half of the debate, which i missed, because in the parts that i watched, he was all short answers and hardly spoke up at all. in fact, there was one part where i cracked up because someone asked him a direct question about the profits of oil companies and he just said, “Well, I take note of those profits, and I take note of the losses when they’ve had them,” and immediately clammed up again for a couple of seconds before someone prompted him some more.) and except ron paul, who was rather agilely avoiding direct attacks at people and was instead ripping apart policy. i have to say, i quite enjoyed when paul went off on the whole “tamperproof ID for illegals” issue. he really hasn’t got a prayer (pun! ha! i so funny.) but it’s nice to see someone out there espousing reasonably civil-libertarian views. the problem with paul is, as D. pointed out, he sits there and points out the problems, especially with what his opponents are proposing, but says very little as to how he would solve them. john mccain did better than i had expected from him — having been expecting him to have a whole crazy breakdown for a while, i was disappointed when i only got a few mad cackles about Mittens. actually, there was a lot of cackling at Mittens. it must suck to be up there at a podium and not only half the country doesn’t wanna listen to you, but your compadres are all one-upping each other on who can oh snap! you best. if he weren’t so smug, i’d almost feel sorry for him.

side note: i want a nickel for every time any candidate said something about what “voters right here in new hampshire!!” want. dude, there are 14 people who live in new hampshire, and the only reason the rest of us let them hold first-in-the-nation primaries is because it’s frigging cold there and we don’t want to have to live next door to police standoffs with the crazy tax evaders. (p.s. i’ve been to your state. it’s very nice. you should pay your taxes so it continues to be so; otherwise, you will end up with michigan. thxu!)

i went into debate overload at some point during an edwards response in the second half of the democratic debate, and had to make the nice tivo save the rest of it for me to watch later. (haven’t yet. but: YAY TIVO. 8-second rewind, best thing ever for live debates!) damn, john edwards gets a fire lit under his ass sometimes, doesn’t he? dude was pissed about people working hard, sacrificing for their kids, and not having health insurance. (strategic cuts to elizabeth, in the audience, not looking so well, as can be expected. sad. :( ) also, just as it was “beat up on Mittens” night at the GOP table, it was pretty “IDK, my BFF John?” night on the Dem side. everybody was all “i love john edwards and we have cosy fireside chats ALL THE TIME!” were they going to do yearbook autographs after it was over? obama seemed a little off his game, he was answering well but some of the polish was off. not sure what was up with that; perhaps he was tired. whatever, he’s dreamy enough that it only makes us love him all the more. hillary was alternating between defensive and attacking, with very little middle ground, though her remark about “well, that kind of hurts my feelings” when asked how she would overcome her perceived unlikeability problem was, i thought, rather charming and humorous instead of coming off as pitiful or offended, so that was a win for her.

also, fyi charlie gibson: at a table with three senators and one governor, you need to stop calling on individuals with just the word “Senator,” ‘cos nobody knows which one you are talking to.

i did like the relative hawkishness on the Dem side on the idea of nuclear proliferation. richardson was pretty typically “diplomacy first, bitches!” which was nice to hear as well, but everybody seemed pretty much “you don’t get to have nukes if you are crazy and either harbor or are bad people, for we are still big and powerful and will take you out.” i was a little surprised it got as much of the conversation as it did, actually, since i don’t think “how will you militarily take down baddies” is a traditionally Democratic callout. and i think everyone did pretty well with the “you guys all said ‘no surge,’ yet violence is down, so you were totally wrong, weren’t you?” responses. violence down == good, still stuck there == bad. other than that, it seemed a lot like “my change is changier than yours!” i wasn’t really inclined to change any of my support, though i was reminded of why i like bill richardson.

so, in summary: republicans want to either throw mexicans out of the country or charge them rent, give us spiffy national ID cards, cut taxes, eat Mittens; democrats want to go get bin laden, change things up, and make us all get health care in one way or another. nobody wants to touch social security with a ten-foot pole. cast your votes now — time is running out!